The Mazza is a fresh addition to Vittoria's mountain bike tire lineup, with a tread pattern that's designed to allow it to excel on trails where those heavily siped knobs have something to dig into.
There are 2.4” and 2.6” versions for both 29” and 27.5” wheels in either a 1.5-ply Trail or 2-ply Enduro casing. Both versions have sidewall protection and anti-pinch flat inserts.
I spent most of my time on the 29 x 2.4” and 2.6” Trail versions, which weigh in at 970 and 1120 grams respectively, and retail for $69.99 USD.
Vittoria Mazza Tire Details
• 4C Graphene rubber compund
• Tubeless ready
• Sidewall protection
• Trail and Enduro casing options
• Sizes: 29 x 2.4" or 2.6", 27.5 x 2.4" or 2.6"
• Weight: 970 grams - 29 x 2.4" trail casing / 1120 grams - 29 x 2.6" trail casing
• MSRP: $69.99 USD
Tires that use three different rubber compounds are fairly common, but Vittoria took things a step further and turned the dial to up to four. Rather than use the same durometer for the entire base of the tire, Vittoria's 4C compound uses a harder durometer in the very center, where the need for more wear resistance is the greatest, with a slightly softer compound on top. Two different rubber compounds are used for the side knobs, where once again there's a harder layer to help provide support during cornering with a softer compound on the top for grip in wet conditions.
Graphene, a microscopic layer of graphite, is mixed with all of the various rubber compounds, where Vittoria says it fills the spaces between the rubber molecules, increasing the tread lifespan and improving rolling resistance. Tread Pattern
The Mazza's tread pattern falls into the Minion DHF-like category, but this isn't a carbon copy of what's arguably the most popular tread pattern in existence. Look closer, and you'll see an extensive amount of siping on every knob that's intended to dictate how and when they're able to deform.
On the side knobs, a deeper cutout is located on the inner block, which is meant to allow that portion to conform to the terrain while the outer portion of the knob remains supported during cornering. The side knobs use an alternating pattern, with two different shapes and positions. The outermost side knobs have a U-shaped cut-out in the center, while the next row, which sits slightly inboard, has a uniform, rectangular outer profile.
Another tread feature that makes the Mazza stand out is the stair-step that's been cut into the larger center knobs. According to Vittoria, that stair step helps it bite into the ground at slower speeds for improved climbing traction, while acting more like a ramped knob at higher speeds. Those stair step knobs alternate with two rectangular blocks that have – you guessed it – more siping, this time in the form of a cut down the middle of each block. Performance
I tried both the Enduro and Trail versions of the Mazza, but I ended up preferring the Trail versions, due to the lighter weight and more compliant casing. The Enduro version, especially the 2.6” width, is very heavy, at 1447 grams, which is up there even for a full-on downhill tire, and the two-ply construction gives it a stiffer, more wooden feel than the Trail version. The 2.4” width Enduro tire is a little less chunky at 1261 grams, but even if I was planning on racing I'd still probably run a Trail version up front.
The Trail version may be lighter than the Enduro option, but it still offered enough support and pinch flat protection for my local trails, which tend to be more rooty than rocky. I ran 21 psi in the front and 23 psi in the rear on rims with a 30mm inner width. Getting the tires set up tubeless didn't pose any issues, and they popped into place with a floor pump.
I'm picky about tires, and I typically take my time when getting used to a new tread pattern and rubber compound, especially if the trails are wet and slimy. With the Mazzas, the learning curve was short and free of any surprises, even when shiny roots were lurking around every corner. It's a very predictable tire on both the front and the rear, with an impressive amount of grip in all conditions both descending and climbing. The Mazza's worked well on all but the muddiest, greasiest days - in deeper mud and loam they will pack up and lose traction, but that's when a tire with an even more aggressive, blocky pattern would be a better option.
When it comes to cornering, the Mazza's have a fairly round profile, which makes it easy to transition to those side knobs, although those knobs don't bite in the same way that they do on a tire like Michelin's Wild Enduro. With the Wild Enduro, the side knobs act like a serrated knife when you get them on edge; during hard cornering you can feel the side knobs churning up the earth. With the Mazza, the side knobs seem to conform to the ground instead, like the suction-cupped tentacles of an octopus. That means there's not quite as much definition when you really have the tire leaned over, but they did keep gripping well past where I'd expected them to break free.
As far as braking traction goes, the Mazza doesn't have quite the same level of bite as a DHR II, but it's right on par with a Minion DHF. I'd place the Mazza's in the middle of the road when it comes to rolling speed – they didn't feel overly draggy, but they also weren't noticeably faster rolling than similar options. Durability
The majority of my testing over the last few months took place when the ground was relatively soft, conditions that are conducive to a longer tire lifespan. All the same, I haven't had any flats, and all the knobs are still firmly intact.
Very predictable handling+
Works well in a wide range of terrain
Enduro casing version is on the heavier side of the scale-
Can get overwhelmed in extra-muddy conditions